Popular Kannada actor Vishnuvardhan died of cardiac arrest in Mysore in the wee hours on Wednesday. He was 59.
Vishnuvardhan,whom his fans had fondly awarded the title “sahasa simha” (a valour lion),developed breathing problems at about 0230 hours and he was immediately taken to a private hospital where he breathed his last,sources said.
According to hospital sources,he died at around 0300 hrs.
His actress wife Bharathi and son-in-law Anirudh were by his side when the Kannada star died.
Sources said the body of the actor,who has acted in 197 films,has been brought here.
Vishnuvardhan,a versatile actor,made his debut into the ‘Sandalwood’ through “Vamsharukha”,an art film directed by Janapeetha awardee Girish Karnad.
He was launched into fame for his role ‘Ramachargi’,a wayward and rebellious student in “Nagarahaavu”,a film directed by acclaimed director Puttanna Kanagal.
Vishnuvardhan did not look back since then and went on to win seven state honours and five film fare awards.
The last film in which Vishnuvardhan acted is ‘Aaptha Rakshaka’ which is yet be released and his latest film to hit the screen is “Bellary Naaga”.
The death of Vishnuvardhan has come as a shock to Kannada film industry as it came a day after a well known composer and singer C Ashwath passed away.
Expressing grief over the actor’s death,Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa said the star would be cremated with full state honours. He also visited the actor’s residence and placed a wreath on the body.
The Chief Minister,who is a film buff,described Vishnuvardhan as a towering personality of the Kannada film industry. “Vishnuvardhan,is a abhinava bhargava (born actor),Karnataka has become poor in his death”,he said,urging the actor’s fans to maintain calm and peace.
The actor’s wife Bharathi also made a similar appeal.
Thousands of fans thronged the actor’s residence to have a glimpse of the body.
Ministers Katta Subramanya Naidu,R Ashok and Suresh Kumar and former Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy,also a film producer,paid tributes to the actor.
As a mark of respect to the actor,the state government declared a holiday in schools and colleges.
Government offices,however,will function as usual.